Current Literacy issues across practice, policy and research


Literacy Today No. 62, March 2010





What the Tories can learn from history

Diane Hofkins explains why Michael Gove should retain the new primary curriculum recommended by Jim Rose, if the Conservatives win the next General Election.


GCSEs moved to Controlled Assessment

Warwick Mansell reports on the change in secondary schools from out-of-class assignments to controlled assessments as part of a bid to tackle an increasing number of plagiarism cases.



Literacy initiative judged to be “excellent and worthwhile”

Emma Lee Potter writes about a new training scheme that is making a real difference for trainee primary teachers.


The Superhero Method for Inspiring Learning in Literacy

Kristy Howells and Danny Sweatman report on a super new method for inspiring literacy learning.


Storylines: A Fresh Approach to Literacy

Graham Meadows argues for the importance of storytelling to promote literacy.


National Literacy Trust


Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, discusses the political debate over the future of school and public libraries.


Support for All: the Families and Relationships Green Paper

George Dugdale, Policy Adviser at the Trust, summarises and analyses the Government’s Support for All Green paper.


Vote for Literacy campaign

George Dugdale, Policy Adviser at the Trust, explains why MPs have been visiting schools in their constituencies to see how they are supporting literacy.


Talking Mats™ for literacy target setting

Daisy Dinwoodie, literacy coordinator in support for learning and Jane Macer, speech and language therapist, discuss the use of the Talking Mats framework for engaging staff and young people in joint literacy target setting.


Building sustainable skills for reading pleasure

A new pilot project, supported by Starbucks Coffee Company, UK, is developing the Reading Is Fundamental, UK model. Caroline Sence explains.




National Strategies: A review of impact, Pathways to Success - How knowledge and skills at age 15 shape future lives in Canada.  Scottish Survey of Achievement 2009: Reading and writing. A Summary of International Reports, Research and Case Studies of Digital Literacy


Adult learning - a new role for LAs

George Low reports from the annual NIACE policy conference in London on 19 January.


Document Reviews

We review A Vision for Scotland: The report and final recommendations of the Literacy Commission from the Scottish Labour Party, Improving Adult Literacy and Numeracy from the Northern Ireland Audit Office, Evidence Check 1: Early literacy interventions – second report of session 2009-10 from the Select Committee on Science and Technology, and Improving Adult Literacy in Scotland from HMIE.




We report on the latest research and policy news from Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand. Reports this issue include the elimination of Reading is Fundamental funding by Barack Obama in his 2011 Budget in the US; $25.9m for projects that will help First Nations make improvements in literacy, numeracy and student retention in Canada; a backlash against the newly introduced National Standards in New Zealand; and fears that the launch of the My School Website in Australia would lead to the media compiling league tables of schools for the first time.


Primary schools and ICT – what can we teach the pupils?

Neil Selwyn, of the University of London Institute of Education, explains why the current generation of primary school pupils feel increasingly disappointed by their low-tech schools.


Marking essays on screen and on paper

Martin Johnson, Rita Nadas and Sylvia Green, from the Research Division of Cambridge Assessment, the exam body of the University of Cambridge, report on the effects of changing from marking on paper to marking on-screen.


Whole book literacy teaching

Educational publisher Heinemann has launched a literacy programme aimed at encouraging schools to return to whole book literacy teaching and inspire children to develop a love of reading, after its research found that only a quarter of primary school children reading just one whole book a year in class.


Dyslexia and background noise

Bharath Chandrasekaran, Jane Hornickel, Erika Skoe, Trent Nicol and Nina Kraus of Northwestern University in Chicago, investigated exactly how children with dyslexia were affected by background noise when working.



Research digest

Ongoing research, article abstracts and article titles of research from education and science journals.


Media Watch

Children’s lack of communication skills, the relaunch of the Young Writer’s Competition, teacher qualifications, NUT and NAHT ballots on a boycott of key stage 2 tests and a new centre for children and young people who stammer.



Expenditure on free books in the House of Commons, children’s communication skills in the House of Lords, the Curriculum for Excellence in the Scottish Parliament, and dyslexia in the Welsh Assembly.


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